Vehicle Recovery in Remote Location - Your Experiences

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:02
ThreadID: 105203 Views:5207 Replies:12 FollowUps:11
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I am interested in hearing the experience of travellers who have had the unfortunate
experience of having to be recovered from a remote location.
Who helped, who didn't, what did it cost, what lessons for the future?
Ross N

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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:49

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:49
Gday Ross
Last week at the Pyrenees I had to rescue a Troop Carrier from between a groove in the road and a hard thing. We used his rope, my passengers helped and cost was not discused , but the driver did give me a beer later that day..

Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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Reply By: Skulldug - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 21:03

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 21:03
Great post!

Robe to Beachport in SA winter of 2011. Prado had it's winch and compressor fitted but I had no recovery gear on board because it was a new car and I didn't expect to get bogged on a track I had done before.

Anyway, the foredune below the track was badly eroded with a big drop-off to the beach below. I decided to go inland to avoid trouble and got badly hung up on the crest of a dune. I tried to dig myself out, then buried my spare in moist sand and tried to winch myself over. I don't think this can be done if your belly is on the sand.

Finally gave up and phoned the RAA. They gave me the number of a local that did recoveries. Two hours later, a local fisherman arrived in an 80 series and snatched me out. $200 :(

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Follow Up By: Skulldug - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:05

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:05

I apologise. I didn't read your post thoroughly.

There was no one that didn't help.

The lesson I learned was to carry enough recovery gear for the environment I'm in.

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Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 21:19

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 21:19
Me wrote off vehicle on remote road but managed to get to Station. Never saw vehicle again.

Station owner drove me and passenger to nearest airstrip - Cost $0

Me and passenger flown courtesey of RFDS to civilistion - Cost $0

Week in hospital in Kal and flight to Perth - Cost $0

Insurance got me brand new vehicle 3 months later - Cost $0

Pride & confidence - Cost heaps

Lessons - always wear a seatbelt, and watch those muddy shoulders.

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"

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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 23:05

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 23:05
Wasn't that long ago either..........
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:12

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:12
Catastrophic failure of new Bilsteins on SBJT. One front shock completely disintegrated and jammed sideways through the spring. Didn't have tools knowledge or will to attempt repair. Trayback from Alice - about $3000. Arranged by sat phone.

Major trauma to radiator 120km north of Oodnadatta. Car to Adelaide - $heaps. Charter flight for 3 back to Alice then big plane home - $heaps. We'll known ex road house proprietor was most unhelpful.

$hit happens.

AnswerID: 521806

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:32

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:32
About 3 years ago 4 mates went for a midweek day trip out the back of Lithgow Blue Mountains. We had done this several times before, just hit a few tracks then grab a pub lunch and head back home, all good, great times.
This particular day we could not get through the planned route due to local forestry track closure so tried an alternate route. The decent was very steep and rutted and we started to follow each other down when the lead vehicle radioed that the road was completely washed out at the bottom and impassable and need to head back. When the lead vehicle tried to turn around he slid into a rut and as I was second vehicle secured my vehicle to a tree and proceeded to recover him with my winch which took about an hour to turn him around to head back out, time was about 10.30 am. During this time the rain came in and the track quickly turned to a slippery mess and you were not able to drive ourselves back out at all. All vehicles had AT's or mud tyres and had lockers or traction control
We conscentrated all our effort on getting one vehicle out using max tracks and a winch and managed to recover one vehicle by midnight and we all drove into town for a feed and a room for the night.
The next morning we got on the phone looking for an excavator to recover the other three vehicles, found a bloke who wanted to have a look first before floating his machine in, he dove out and had a look and decided that a log skidder would be a better machine (a log skidder is a large rubber tyred articulated machine with a big steel cable drum winch on it that they use to drag the felled timber out of the forest)
They arrange to float the machine out and he proceeded to head down the hill to recover us , time is now about 11am day 2.

The conditions were too much for the log skidder too and he got stuck as well and burnt out his brakes in the process so now the focus was to recover the log skidder. The operator headed back to his yard to get more recovery gear for a fresh start on day three.

Day three he brought back about 200 meters of wire rope and skull dragged himself up the hill with his winch to level ground.
We then set the log skidder up at the top and ran the cable down and further extended it with another 7 recovery straps to reach the other three vehicles and drag them out one at a time, with the last one out mid afternoon
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:43

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 22:43
The guy went pretty easy on us I think, he charged us $1200 and there were some pretty hairy moments in the process as well.

What did we learn?
When I do a day trip now I carry warm clothes and extra food. On this day I was in shorts and teeshirt and only a couple of light snacks.

I have a couple more in the Simpson desert to share as well but my typing finger is sore , sorry for the long post
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Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:15

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:15
Far out Alby that's a campfire story to end them all!
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06
Epic mate, I don't suppose there would be a video of that "little" adventure.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 17:34

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 17:34
No sorry Pop, we were not prepared to take any photos.
This all started on a Wednesday, I found out later one of the guys didnt tell his wife he was going and she just thought he was at work LOL so he was in trouble, I had a court appearance on the Friday over a parking fine I was disputing and had to send my wife in to explain to the judge why I was not there, apparently there was a lot of laughing in the courtroom ( didn't get off on the parking fine either when I finaly got to appear the following time )
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 20:17

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 20:17
OK recovery incident number 2

Doing a Simpson crossing in 2010 with another vehicle that was near new (10,000 k on clock) with wives and children
We were on the Rig road and just cresting the first dune for the morning after breaking camp
Get a call from my mate on the radio that he has some ugly bang and grinding noises in the rear end. With a process of elimination we concluded that it was in the diff.
With our sat phone we called Mt Dare for assistance but he was already on his way to another recovery so was at least a day away from getting to us.
Our mechanical knowledge is not a lot more than basic and never undertaken this type of job before but given the situation we thought we would have a go to see if we could get ourselves mobile again. So using a common sense approach and some advice from Jeff at MT Dare we proceeded to strip down the diff to find the ring gear missing several teeth.
We removed the ring gear from the centre, filtered the oil through a rag to get as much metal out as possible and proceeded to put it all back together and removed the tail shaft so that with 4WD engaged we effectively had a front wheel drive. This took us 4 to 5 hours to complete.
We connected a snatch strap to my vehicle and with plenty of radio communication he drove under his own power between the dunes and then I would take up the slack and assist him over the dunes.
We continued west with this method quite successfully until the dunes were small enough for him to take on under his own power.
We pushed on to Dalhousie Springs and arrived there about 10.30 at night feeling pretty stuffed but proud of our achievement.
I can tell you a beer and a soak in the spring under the stars was the best experience.
Spent the next night ar Mt Dare and offered to pay for the phone assistance received but was declined in typical country hospitality style but patronised their fuel, food and drink to the best of our abilities.
We looked to head to Alice Springs for a repair but it was going to be a few days before they could even look at it so we detoured out to the blacktop and he drove back to Sydney in front wheel drive.

Recovery cost: nil

What did I learn: Without a sat phone we would of been sitting in the desert with young children for at least a few days and would of had a hefty recovery bill to go with it. A phone allowed us to be able to seek advice from people to help us get out of the situation.

I have another Simpson tale to tell later as well from 2012

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Follow Up By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 20:09

Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 20:09
Two good stories.
Just the sort of successful recoveries I was hoping to hear about
Ross N

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 21:07

Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 21:07
Ross you just reminded me to tell about recovery no 3

Late September 2012 we were attempting another Simpson crossing East to west when I suffered a strut failure near Poppells Cnr, I strapped it up and tried to limp back to Birdsville but the whole stut collapsed after about 5 Kms leaving front LHS on its bump stop and going nowhere. It was late Friday arvo and was thinking of where I would need to get a replacement strut from and how many days will it take to get to me.
Rang Barnsey at Birdville on the sat phone ( best traveling accessory) and luckily he had one in stock. Apparently there was a motor kana type group just come to Birdville and he was extremely busy doing repairs so we set up camp for the night and waited for him to come out the next day, temperature was in the early 50's.
We pulled the broken strut out and waited for him to bring out a replacement strut and a spring compressor to fit it up for us and then we reinstalled the strut ourselves and drove out.

Cost: replacement strut $250 ( which I thought was reasonable for an OME strut) plus $1,200.00 delivery charge which I know is a lot of money but it would of taken the best part of a day for him and an offsider plus his vehicle and still a lot cheaper than the tilt tray option.

What did I learn:
1. Once again a sat phone is an invaluable communication tool
2. If you drive a popular make vehicle ( Toyota) there is a much better chance of having replacement parts available. When Barnsey said he had a shock in stock the first thing I thought of was imagine how different the whole scenario would be if I had an Amorok or similar

Just for the record I have done plenty of incident free trips as well. LOL
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 23:19

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 23:19
On a trip to Cape York In 2008, at Laura, we came across a Holden Rodeo with a fuel pump problem – they had to get a truck to carry it back to Cooktown. Didn’t get a cost estimate - assume between one and two of thousand dollars.
On the same trip a Nissan, at Seasha at the Tip, had its ABS computer fail locking its brakes and the local mechanic couldn’t sort it out. Being a new vehicle, some arrangement was made between Nissan and the RAC to put it on a barge back to Cooktown or Cairns. Cost about $3,500 to transport it.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 08:59

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 08:59
Its interesting that insurance was not mentioned in the above expensive posts.

I would have expected that having insurance would have picked up most of the cost.

Bill B

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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 09:09

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 09:09
Insurance covers collision damage.
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Reply By: Brian 01 - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:16

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:16
A couple of years ago, we had a rear disc failure as a result of a rock getting into the assembly on the cruiser.
We limped into Parachilna at about 6pm where we were able to call the NRMA for assistance.
Due to us being in South Australia, they contacted the RAA who in turn contacted their contractor in Copley which is around 100km further north (just past Leigh Creek).
The contractor rang me back within about 20 minutes, got all of our details off me and told me to wait for him.
I advised him that we were OK for the night and that tomorrow (Saturday) would be fine.
He said that he would rather do it tonight and so it was arranged.
He turned up around an hour and a half later with a flat top truck and a troopy ute.
The cruiser went on the truck and the 3.5 tonne van went on the back of the troopy.
The contractor advised me that he had arranged space for us at the Copley van park and that the owner of the park was waiting up for us.
We got into Copley at about 11pm, the van was positioned and the contractor departed.
He ordered a new disc but had to wait until Monday for delivery by air.
Even though it wasn't due for one, I got him to give the car a service while it was in his workshop.
The car was ready for us on Tuesday morning, which gave us some time to look around the town and to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the folks there.
Total cost to us for the pick up was zilch, cost for the new disc, a pair of pads and service was $240, cost for the van park was $100, cost for a couple of dinners in the pub was ??.
A bloody good result from all concerned starting from the NRMA call centre to the RAA call centre to the fantastic service of the contractor to the van park operator to the pub for the meals.
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Reply By: harry & the hobbit - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 13:04

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 13:04
In 1979 we took our Suzuki LJ80 down a fire trail near Noojee. Although novices I did carry a small hand puller (that doesn't sound right). Near the bottom of the densely overgrown track a very large tree had fallen and blocked it with the terrain preventing any way around. It had now started to rain heavily and combined with the hard clay track surface and the skinny bar tread tyres standard on the Suzy, traction was just a dream.
So at about 4/5 PM with the fiancée behind the wheel I started winching back up with the hand puller. Hard work and gaining about 3 mtrs each time before having to reset the skinny wire cable it was about 9PM before we got near the top and drove home exhausted.
No help, no cost but a lot of lessons.
I now know about tyre pressures, carry a chainsaw in the hills and let the wife do the winching.
AnswerID: 521826

Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 13:53

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 13:53
I tried hard to think of when I have had to be recovered , the time when a girl in a Pathfinder pulled me out never happened because there were no pictures - now if you had of called for self recovery !

Anyway this I plagerized from the old Patrol site I used to moderate .

Subject: Failings of a Patrol Owner

The others on the trip did not want to do the optional. So, the optional!
Daniel, Michelle and I are at the top of the hill climb, enjoying the view.
The optionals done no worries. I theorize the hill climb was a good idea,
cos now we wont have to wait at the service station air pump for long to air
back up. Wed be there in a few minutes..........

There was an unsually slippery muddy section that had alot of water, and was
water soaked swampy loose soil sorta terrain. Coming along from the
optional, a mud hole with a vertical wall of mud, the 35" Baja Claws were
the thing for it as my truck scramlbed into the earth for traction. A bit
excited, I toot the horn and egg on Daniel to have a go. Daniel got a good
way up the ledge, but ran out of traction on the crest. Soon it became
apparent he was bottomed out and no effort from the wheel in forward or
reverse would see him free. Nothing big, lets simply go the snatch. First
snatch. Hmm second snatch. Ok second gear low this time Im going to really
nail it and my foot aint moving till his truck does! Aarrrggg no go, but it
did climb a bit. A kind guy hears us on the UHF from the trip, and he asked
if we needed help, no thanks, well be right besides Ive got the mighty
TIRFOR! Refusing to be beaten by the stupid mud hole that could never in the
wildest imagination of any self respecting enthusiast shame the Patrol
vintage, we decided to snatch Dan out the other way, with gravity working
for us. It was into dark now, the sun gone from the sky, and I had not
noticed the now huge holes I had dug trying to snatch Daniel out, the Claws
digging their way to China to find any elusive traction below the surface.
High and dry on the diffs front and rear PTROOL was going nowhere.

Flustered, the obvious arrogance of this stupid mud hole was going to be
taught a real lesson with my Tirfor. Where is my Tirfor handle? Hmmmmmm. Aw
crap, WHERE IS MY WINCH CABLE! Someone give me some downers and a straight
jacket, how totally ridiculous someone shoot me I know exactly where they
are, its in the garages of my bloody house! Sliding around in this
bottomless black and gray goo, the depravity of the situation was bearing
heavy on my mind, cast down from the heavens of Patrolness, that celestial
fire within the combustion chambers.........No more, filled instead, those
hot housings seeping in that cold rank gritty crud into my drivetrain. My
swivel hubs. My rear diff. That exhaust noise muffled by the water that
covered it, gurgling onwards like some crazed boat motor. Shutdown.
Darkness. Silence. Nothing, Nothing. Faint demonic whispers from the bog
hole, whos taunts echoed through the mountains in a cacophony born of sin.

Is it worse to die in the bush, or to call on the mobile that my better half
had now identify the needed components from somewhere within my three
garages, to proceed into her vehicle, to drive to the nearest sealed road
and to deliver the missing bits to us? For Daniel and I to trudge it out
onto the road, wait, to crawl our way back through the it all again?
Motivation, my brothers, is best fuelled by hate and vengence, the desire to
show this cursed bog hole that it cant contain my vehicle for any period of
time. To cast this bastard of evil hell spawn back, to cleanse the land.

Having now survived the wroth of my girl, and capitulated to the inevitable
hold she will have over me for an untold period of time from hence forth,
Daniel and I set out into the darkness to wait for the Tirfor bits. My legs
ached, breathless, the hills gawrrddd the hills.......Saved only for Daniel
and his good company. Emily arrived after what appeared to be enough time to
create another universe, and now posessing my tirfor handle that gave me
more power than the greatest sword, and a tirfor cable that could tame any
foul beast this atleast made the incessant walk back something remotely
realistic. Plotting the demise of this wrecthed bog hole was motivation
enough as each leg passed the other, countless times, in the bush, in the
dark, an obsession.

Assembled. Equipped. Single line pull here we go. The shear stress of the
Tirfor pin is somewhere over 1.6 tonne. The hand winch refused to budge now.
A giants strength was needed that no man posesses. Right. Ive got a snatch
block. This was it, this was the death blow. Now at 3.2 tonne capacity
nothing was going to stop my truck from being pulled out. Recovered, turned
around, side stepped the holes and pulled Daniel out in reverse. Daniel had
dug himself an impressive approach to China as well, the once vertical ledge
a series of holes and steep ledges apart.

Yep, we were out. It was only after 10pm now. Not enough time for dimentia
to sent in from lack of dehydration. Hmm maybe dimentia caused me to forget
the stuff in the first place. Tonight I shall say my Patrol prayers, and
maybe the gods will forgive me in my dreams, and give me the wisdom for
another day.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: setsujoku - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:04

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:04
I wasn't on the trip itself, but the recovery of a friends car from the Anne Beadell highway back to Coober Pedy was a bit over $5k, and even then the recovery only happened after some phone calls and a bit of persuading.
Certainly would make you think twice about if it was really worth it depending on the car!
AnswerID: 521862

Reply By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 20:15

Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 20:15
many thanks for your posts.
The moral seems to be
Be prepared & have the right communications gear as even at high cost sometimes someone will come & get you
Ross N

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Reply By: Geoff - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 17:41

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 17:41
Broke a rear diff housing whilst on the Gibb River Road just out from Galvans Gorge.
Tilt tray back to Derby was $2300,luckily I had increased cover on my RAC roadside assist to classic so this covered $2000 of the bill.Wish I had gone the max which would increased cover to $7000.The moral of the story is to increase your cover before leaving on remote trips.
AnswerID: 522192

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